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a comparatively easy solution. Some such change would seem to be called for in the interests of public health and national efficiency, even if it were not necessary for purposes of national defence.
So far as the employers of this country are concerned, all the evidence goes to prove that the larger and more intelligent of them would welcome a rational system of military training. No class is in a better position to appreciate the importance of physical vigour and an alert habit of mind on the part of all classes engaged in industry. Forty years ago Sir Joseph Whitworth, with unrivalled experience, wrote: 'The labour of a man who has gone through a course of military drill is worth eighteen pence a week more than that of one untrained, as through the training received in military drill men learn ready obedience, attention, and combined action, all of which are so necessary in work where men have to act promptly and together.' The information supplied by the Inspector-General of Recruiting with regard to the physical fitness of those who present themselves for admission into the Army is quite as interesting to the employer of labour as it is to the soldier. Each has to deal with the same material, though for a different purpose—the one for the defence of our national trade, the other for the defence of our imperial territories. The very high percentage of those willing to enlist in our large cities, who are rejected on account of their lack of stamina and other physical defects, is as disquieting and painful a subject for reflection to the patriotic employer as to the soldier.
All classes of employers would very properly insist that any system adopted should be entirely democratic in its character and should be of universal application. What they would resent and resist is a law which exposed them to the unfairness and caprice of the ballot, which might by pure chance deprive one employer of a large proportion of the younger members of his staff, while it left à neighbour-and perhaps rival-practically untouched.
With regard to the dislocation of industrial life which many people fear, it must be remembered that it is only at the outset that its effects would, if ever, be severely felt. Any plan likely to be adopted in this country would only come gradually into effect. The practice of carrying out national measures upon a local basis would, no doubt, be followed in military training exactly as it is in education. Our industries would speedily adapt themselves to the new conditions, just as they have adapted themselves to the successive shortening of the hours of labour and the increasing stringency of the Factory Acts. We see no decrease of industrial efficiency in France or Germany, and no serious annual dislocation of business through the action of a military system far more penetrating and disturbing than anyone would dream of suggesting for this country. Employers and employed have accepted it as a condition of life like any other, and have moulded their business arrangements to meet its requirements. And so it would be here. It is impossible to suppose that our industrial organisation is so delicately poised that it could not stand readjustments which have been found entirely innocuous in other countries.
Much of the prejudice which exists amongst us against compulsory military training is due to misconceptions and to well-worn traditions with regard to the evil consequences of conscription and barrack life. The use of the word 'conscription ' has really confused and prejudged the question. It is indeed a curious instance of the tyranny of a word. As a matter of fact, there need be no question of conscription in these islands. It is a system which foreign countries have found themselves compelled to adopt, but there is no reason why any plan of ours should conform to the prevalent Continental type. There is, on the contrary, every reason why it should not.
· The problem which at present confronts us differs fundamentally from that with which our neighbours have had to deal. To them the problem is entirely military. They require a nation trained to arms to resist foreign invasion. Military training and military service are one and the same thing, and every trained man belongs to the national army. Conscription and life in barracks are essential parts of the system. With us the problem is partly educational, partly military.
We need to train our young men in order to raise the level of physical fitness of the nation for the ordinary avocations of life, as well as to prepare them to take part in the defence of their country, if occasion should arise ; but though all would receive a measure of military training, all would not serve.
With our army voluntarily enlisted for oversea service and for foreign expeditions, and with our fleet as the first line of home defence, we have no use for the vast number of men which conscription would bring to the colours. We do, however, need behind our permanent forces a nation so far trained to arms and accustomed to discipline as to constitute a great reserve, which can be largely relied upon for home defence, and to which we can confidently appeal in times of crisis for any number of volunteers for foreign service.
I see no reason why this preliminary military training of the nation should not be effected without any serious disturbance of our existing industrial system, and without incurring any of the objections which can be brought against conscription.
The problem can probably be approached most safely and with the best chance of success from the educational side. The principle of compulsion has been accepted with regard to education, and the public mind has become accustomed to it. We should, I think, follow the line of least resistance by grafting military training upon our existing educational system, instead of starting from a new point of departure.
My proposal is briefly as follows :— Military or naval training
should be made compulsory for every able-bodied youth between the ages of, say, fifteen and nineteen, as a branch of or as a continuation of ordinary education. In working out the details existing educational machinery should be closely followed. Military training would rank as an additional branch beside elementary, secondary, and technical education, being most nearly allied, by its compulsory character, to elementary education. The duty of carrying out the law should be imposed upon the local authority—the county or borough council-acting through a special committee appointed ad hoc, whose duty it would be to furnish, out of funds provided from imperial sources, all the necessary expenses for instructors, drill-grounds, and possibly accoutrements and ranges. The committee would see to the enforcement of the law, and for that purpose would have in its service drill attendance officers, just as the present authorities employ school attendance officers. The War Office would either act alone or would co-operate with the Board of Education in drawing up, and from time to time revising, the scheme of military training and in providing-probably from the district headquarters—the necessary staff of drill instructors and inspectors. The whole system would rest upon a purely local basis, like any other branch of education. All lads, until they attained the age of nineteen and reached a fixed standard of efficiency, would have to submit to the prescribed course of training in the locality where they for the time being happened to be. This would not cause any serious disturbance to industrial life, and could probably be carried out in the case of the vast mass of the population during the abundant leisure which is now at the disposal of all classes. If any difficulty should arise, in order to meet it, there would be little objection to a further slight shortening of the legal hours during which 'young persons ’ may be employed.
It is not contended that this plan would solve any of our purely military problems; but if rigorously carried out it would contribute decisively to the physical regeneration of our people, and would speedily provide an abundance of raw material from which military experts should be able to build up adequately the defences of the Empire. Moreover, by accustoming boys to martial exercises and military discipline it would make the Army a more popular career for the many adventurous spirits our race will always produce, and would thereby set a limit to the chronic difficulty of recruiting for the Regular Forces.
HOW JAPAN REFORMED HERSELF
It is a well-known characteristic of mankind to despise what they do not know. For this reason the Japanese, until quite recently, looked down upon foreigners as barbarians. But the foreigners display the same mental attitude which formerly distinguished the Japanese. They do not know what to them is a foreign countryJapan.'
It is a good many years ago since Fukuzawa Yukichi, perhaps the foremost Japanese educationalist of modern times, wrote these words, and since then the world has learned to respect and to admire Japan for her splendid achievements in every province of human activity. But the world still believes that the reform of Japan is a thing of yesterday, a mushroom growth which has sprung up overnight, and which, as we are told, may disappear as suddenly as it came when the Asiatic' reasserts himself, tears up his European clothes, like the monkey in the fable, and returns to his native ways.
In reality, the foundation on which the magnificent edifice of modern Japan has been erected with marvellous skill and unparalleled rapidity was laid at a time when Europe was still in swaddling clothes, and successive generations have added stone by stone to the building, which, with the adaptation of European civilisation, received its natural completion. The rise of modern Japan may seem like a fairy tale to the superficial observer in Europe or America, but to the Japanese themselves the reform of their country appears natural in view of its history, character, and traditions.
If we wish to understand how and why Japan succeeded in carrying out perhaps the most marvellous reformation which any empire has ever effected, in order to gauge what are her aims and what her future will be, we must study her progress and her reformation from Japanese sources. Such study will reveal the fact that Europe and America can now learn quite as much from Japan as she has learned from them in the past.
Twenty years ago, when Japan seemed, in European eyes, no greater than Siam or Liberia, Fukuzawa Yukichi said :
Though we learned the art of navigation during the last twenty years, it is neither within the last twenty years, nor within the last 200 years, that we cultivated and trained our intellect so as to enable us to learn that art. That continued training is characteristic of Japanese civilisation, and can be traced back hundreds and thousands of years, and for that continuity of effort we ought to be thankful to our ancestors.
We have never been backward or lacking in civilisation and progress. What we wanted was only to adapt the outward manifestations of our civilisation to the requirements of the time. Therefore, let us study not only navigation, but every other branch of European knowledge and civilisation, however trifling it may be, and adopt what is useful, leaving alone what is useless. Thus shall we fortify our national power and well-being.
On the great stage of the world, where all men can see, we mean to show what we can do, and vie with other nations in all arts and sciences. Thus shall we make our country great and independent. This is my passionate desire.
Fukuzawa Yukichi and the other great reformers of his time have now succeeded in carrying out their ardent ambition, and have raised their country to the eminent position in the world which is its due. Now let us take a rapid glance at old Japan, and then watch its transformation and modernisation.
The early history of Japan is wrapped in obscurity, but from the fact that the present Emperor comes from a dynasty which, in unbroken succession, has governed the country for more than 2,500 years, we may assume that the Japanese were a politically highly organised, well-ordered, and, therefore, a highly cultured people centuries before the time of Alexander the Great. Seven centuries before Christ Japan was already a seafaring nation, for Japanese ships went over to Corea. In the year 86 B.c. the Emperor Sujin had the first census of the population taken, and in 645 the Emperor Kotoku ordered that regular census registers should be compiled every six years. In Great Britain we find that only in 1801, and after much obstruction and opposition, was the first census taken. Japan's first regular postal service was established in the year 202, and was perfected in later centuries.
The great renaissance of Japan took place in the seventh and eighth centuries, or several hundred years before William the Conqueror. Prince Shotoku initiated that period of splendid and universal progress. He organised the administrative system of the country, and he created that spirit of Japan which combines absolute fearlessness, patriotism, and the keenest sense of personal honour with unselfishness, unfailing courtesy, gentleness, and obedience to authority. The following rules of political conduct laid down by the Prince during a time of disorder have been, and still are, the Ten Commandments of the Japanese, and were spoken of as The Constitution :
... Concord and harmony are priceless ; obedience to established principles is the first duty of man. But in our country each section of people has its own views, and few possess the light. Disloyalty to Sovereign and parents, disputes among neighbours, are the results. That the upper classes should be in unity among themselves, and intimate with the lower, and that all matters in dispute should be submitted to arbitration—that is the way to place Society on a basis of strict justice.